Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: October 22, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412956260 | Print ISBN: 9781412916523 | Online ISBN: 9781412956260| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Keith Douglass Warner & Lisa H. Newton & Dustin Mulvaney
Genetic engineering is a catchall term for the development of substantially novel living organisms and marks a breakthrough from selective breeding or conventional hybridization that has gone on without controversy for centuries. In its most common form, genetic engineering describes the direct transfer of genetic material across or within an organism's genome, which is then described as a “transgenic organism,” “genetically engineered” (GE) organism, or a “genetically modified organism” (GMO). GMOs breed true, while hybrids do not; the entire germ line of the modified organisms are permanently reconfigured. Scientists and private industry embrace transgenic modification because this allows the more precise insertion of genes carrying desired traits into target organisms. Genetic engineering is used in a variety of contexts. It has been relatively uncontroversial in medical applications such as human insulin and far more controversial as an agricultural technology. To date, commercially grown genetically engineered organisms in agriculture have been ...